Category Archives: Science

Origins of Genus Homo – CARTA

8232Despite discoveries of remarkable new fossils in recent years, the evolutionary events surrounding the origins of genus Homo are incompletely understood.

This fascinating CARTA symposium explores evidence bearing on the emergence of our genus. What forces caused the changes in diet and body form as our predecessors evolved toward Homo. Were there forces from within on the molecular scale? Or changes in environment and climate? How did an integrated suite of behaviors, collectively termed hunting and gathering, that emerged sometime between 3 and 2 million years ago affect changes that spurred evolution towards the characteristics which are all associated with our human lineage?

Watch as a diverse cadre of experts from around the world present their observations on the Origins of Genus Homo.

Browse all episodes in CARTA: Origins of Genus Homo

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Launching The UC Climate Solutions Channel

8232The news about climate change is serious. The scientific consensus is clear – it’s getting worse and if we don’t address it, our planet will suffer. Browse this collection of some of the finest voices on climate change, as the University of California continues to lead the world in researching its causes and developing best practices to mitigate its impacts.

Public lectures, panel discussions, interviews, animations, mini-documentaries – UCTV’s newest theme channel features easily watchable programs that will inform your understanding of what’s at stake and show how you can join the ten UC campuses and be part of the climate solution.

Visit The UC Climate Solutions Channel.

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Decoding the Microbiome

8232There are on average about 110 trillion cells in the human body… and 100 trillion of those aren’t human. That’s the human microbiome, a mix of interdependent organisms living in a variety of ecosystems as diverse as guest Rob Knight puts it, “between a prairie in Kansas and a coral reef in Florida.” And that’s just the difference between the microbial life on your hand compared to the microbes in your mouth…

As amazing as this reality is, what’s more amazing is that our human existence is wholly dependent on the activities and products of this microbiome – we couldn’t survive without our body’s microbial partners.

This realization has led people like Rob Knight, professor of Pediatrics and Computer Science, and Larry Smarr, renowned authority in high-performance computing, to wield the tools of Big Data and bioinformatics to search for a deep understanding of what lives within and on us and how it works to sustain us, and to find ways to maintain and improve that symbiotic relation for better health and treatments for maladies from autism to Krohn’s disease.

Watch Decoding the Microbiome and browse more programs from Computing Primetime.

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Looking Beyond 2050 with Lord Martin Rees

8232Cosmologist, noted author, Astronomer Royal and recipient of the 2015 Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest, Lord Martin Rees has written and spoken extensively about the problems and challenges of the 21st century, and the interfaces between science, ethics and politics. In his words, “we need to broaden our sympathies both in space and time – and perceive ourselves as part of a long heritage, and stewards for an immense future.”

He points out that the current population is 7 billion people, and is projected to grow to 9 billion in 2050. In order to cope with this aging and ever-increasing population, with growing pressure on resources, and with rising global temperatures, Lord Martin Rees stresses that issues of global health and sustainability must stay high on the world’s agenda.

The Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest was created and is supported by the Nierenberg family to honor the memory of William A. Nierenberg, who was director of Scripps for 21 years. As this year’s recipient, Lord Martin Rees delivers a thought-provoking and insightful perspective on the challenges humanity faces in the future beyond 2050.

Watch Looking Beyond 2050 — On Earth and in Space with Lord Martin Rees.

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Unleash the Dragons! (Seadragons, that is.)

8232It’s not often that a new species is discovered almost 100 years after it was first collected and described. But we’re in a new age of taxonomy powered by new genetic and anatomical imaging tools.

While researching the two known species of seadragons as part of an effort to understand and protect the exotic and delicate fish, scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego made a startling discovery: a third species of seadragon.

Using DNA and anatomical research tools, Scripps graduate student Josefin Stiller and marine biologists Nerida Wilson of the Western Australia Museum (WAM) and Greg Rouse of Scripps Oceanography found evidence for the new species while analyzing tissue samples supplied by WAM. The researchers then requested the full specimen as well as photographs taken just after it was retrieved from the wild in 2007. They were further surprised by the appearance of the newly identified animal. The color was a bright shade of red and vastly different from the orange tint in Leafy Seadragons and the yellow and purple hues of Common Seadragons.

Stiller, Wilson, and Rouse gave their new discovery the scientific name Phyllopteryx dewysea, also referred to as the “Ruby Seadragon.”

Watch Unleash the Dragons! as Stiller shares the secrets of this newly described specie of seadragon and how it was discovered.

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